Toyota, Honda and Nissan are recalling more than 3 million vehicles globally for an identical problem with air bags on the passenger side whose inflator may burst, sending plastic pieces flying. The companies say no injuries have been reported related to the problem. The recall for air bags made by Japan’s Takata Corp. affects other automakers including non-Japanese manufacturers, according to a Takata spokeswoman.
Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 1.7 million vehicles, with some 580,000 in North America, another 490,000 in Europe and 320,000 in Japan. Affected models include the Corolla, Tundra and Lexus SC produced between November 2000 and March 2004. Toyota said it had received five reports of air bag problems, three in the U.S. and two in Japan, but said there have been no injuries. The automaker suffered a blow to its reputation from a series of massive recalls in 2009 and 2010 partly a reflection of how various models used the same parts to save costs. But the latest recall is affecting other major automakers as well.
Honda Motor Co. is recalling 1.1 million vehicles. About 680,000 are in North America, 270,000 in Japan and 64,000 in Europe. The models include the Civic, CR-V and Odyssey. The automakers have reported the problem to the Transport Ministry in Japan, and will be reporting other recalls in other regions. The recall extends to Latin America, China, other Asian nations, the Middle East and Africa.
Nissan Motor Co. recalled 480,000 vehicles globally, with some 137,000 of them in being Japan, for the air bag problem. The Yokohama-based automaker said vehicles in North America and Europe are affected, but at press time had not released other details on its 343,000 overseas recalls. Recalled models in Japan include the Cube, X-Trail, Maxima and Teana, made from August 2000 to January 2004. The problem arose because of human errors during production. Reportedly, a worker forgot to turn on the switch for a system weeding out defective products and parts were improperly stored, which exposed them to humidity
Honda said it was aware of one crash in which a passenger front airbag casing had ruptured after being deployed with too much pressure. The automaker said it was not aware of any injuries or deaths that may have resulted from the defect. Toyota said it had reports of five airbag malfunctions, but no injuries.
The recall, while large, is not without precedent. The United States alone has had 13 recalls of more than three million units, according to a list maintained by the D.C.-based Center for Auto Safety. The air bag inflators were made by Takata, a Japan-based supplier, for all three automakers in the recalls. The Japanese safety-gear producer made the products from 2000 to 2002. Japan’s Transport Ministry said the recall affects nearly 732,000 vehicles in Japan.
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